4th Circuit rules (again) in favor of the Good News Club
gbaylor at clsnet.org
Fri Aug 11 13:36:07 PDT 2006
This dispute has been to the Fourth Circuit twice.
In the first appeal, Americans United for Separation of Church and State,
the ACLU of the National Capitol Area, the ACLU Foundation of Maryland, the
Anti-Defamation League, People for the American Way, the National Education
Association, the National School Boards Association, the Maryland
Association of Boards of Education, the National Parent Teacher Association,
the American Association of School Administrators, and Montgomery Soccer
filed amicus briefs supporting Montgomery County Public Schools.
In the second appeal, the National School Boards Association and the
Maryland Association of Boards of Education filed an amicus brief supporting
the school district.
Gregory S. Baylor
Director, Center for Law & Religious Freedom
Christian Legal Society
8001 Braddock Road, Suite 300
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 642-1070 x 3502
(703) 642-1075 fax
gbaylor at clsnet.org
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Ed Brayton
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 11:21 AM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: 4th Circuit rules (again) in favor of the Good News Club
Hamilton02 at aol.com wrote:
I ask the following question for edification -- How does one square this
decision with the 4th Cir's willingness to permit the Wiccan woman to be
excluded from delivering prayers at city council meetings? I'm blanking on
the name of the latter case, but it would seem that equality is at issue in
both cases, and the results would seem at first blush in conflict with each
And what position did CLS take on the Wiccan case, if any?
Excellent question. One might add another: what position did the ACLU and/or
Americans United take in this most recent case? There might well be
hypocrisy on both sides of this one. The earlier case you're referring to
was Simpson v Chesterfield Co. Board of Supervisors. That ruling can be
found at http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/041045.P.pdf.
It appears at first blush that the court did not even consider the question
of this being a public forum of any kind, and looked primarily at Marsh v
Chambers as the controlling precedent. From that ruling:
The parties here differ as to which lines of precedent govern this
case. Simpson rejects the County's argument that the principles of
Marsh v. Chambers suffice to resolve the dispute. She instead offers,
and the district court accepted, Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228
(1982) (finding "denominational preference" to violate the Establishment
Clause), as well as Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612-13
(1971) (creating a general framework to evaluate Establishment
Clause challenges). We think her reliance on these cases is misplaced
and conclude that Marsh v. Chambers controls the outcome of this
The court went on to note that Marsh was more on point and that it post
dated both Larson and Lemon, and the court did not apply either of those
cases in March. So it appears that the plaintiffs did not raise the public
forum issue and the court did not consider it.
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